The Wages of Whiteness (Paperback)

Race and the Making of the American Working Class

By David R. Roediger, Mike Davis (Editor), Michael Sprinker (Editor)

Verso, 9781859842409, 197pp.

Publication Date: January 17, 1999

List Price: 19.95*
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Combining classical Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the new labor history pioneered by E. P. Thompson and Herbert Gutman, David Roediger’s widely acclaimed book provides an original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States. This, he argues, cannot be explained simply with reference to economic advantage; rather, white working-class racism is underpinned by a complex series of psychological and ideological mechanisms that reinforce racial stereotypes, and thus help to forge the identities of white workers in opposition to Blacks.

In an afterword to this new edition, Roediger discusses recent studies of whiteness and the changing face of labor itself. He surveys criticism of his work, accepting many objections whilst challenging others, especially the view that the study of working class racism implies a rejection of Marxism and radical politics.

About the Author

David Roediger is Kendrick Babcock Chair of History at the University of Illinois. Among his books are Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day (with Philip S. Foner), "How Race Survived US History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon," and "The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class." He is the editor of "Fellow Worker: The Life of Fred Thompson, The North and Slavery and Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White" as well as a new edition of Covington Hall's "Labor Struggles in the Deep South." His articles have appeared in "New Left Review, Against the Current, Radical History Review, History Workshop Journal, The Progressive" and "Tennis."

Mike Davis is the author of several books including "Planet of Slums," "City of Quartz," "Ecology of Fear," "Late Victorian Holocausts," and "Magical Urbanism." He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa'aloa, Hawaii.

Michael Sprinker was Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His "Imaginary Relations: Aesthetics and Ideology in the History of Historical Materialism "and" History and Ideology in Proust" are also published by Verso. Together with Mike Davis, he founded Verso's Haymarket Series and guided it until his death in 1999.

Praise For The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class

“At last an American labor historian realizes that white workers have a racial identity that matters as race matters to workers who are not white.”—Nell Irwin Painter, Princeton University

“A timely and important intervention in the current debates over ‘race’ and ethnicity.”—Catherine Hall, New Left Review

“Roediger’s exciting new book makes us understand what it means to see oneself as white in a new way. An extremely important and insightful book.”—Lawrence Glickman, The Nation

“The Celestine Prophecy of whiteness studies.”—SPLN